What you have do and what should happen:

1 In complete darkness load your film just like you have been practising while you watch telly. Put the film in the tank and close it securely. You can't open the tank again until you are ready to hang the film up to dry.

Check the temperature of your chemicals. Ideally they should be at 20 C .

3 Set your timer according to the instructions with the developer. If your developer is not at 20 C you will have to adjust the time, there will be a chart or graph to calculate changes.

If you are quite happy you are ready to start. Once you start you can't stop from here on.

Start your timer.

Pour in your developer, not to quickly, put the lid back on and seal it tight , tap the tank on the work surface or whatever to dislodge any air bubbles then agitate for 10 seconds.
Agitation is important to keep fresh chemistry in contact with the film surface. It is generally performed in one of two ways.

Inversion: Invert the tank ( turn it upside down ! )4 or 5 times at the start of each minute.
Rotation: Rotate the spiral inside the tank for 10 seconds at the start of each minute by rotating the centre spindle. A tool to help with this would have come with the tank . If it is lost you may have to improvise. Sometimes the end of a spring clothes peg will fit inside the spindle and catch the lugs that turn it.

The developer acts on the exposed film to produce the negative. It is a long story about silver halides that most people are not interested in.

About 10 seconds before the development is due to end start to slowly pour out the developer

Pour in the stop bath and agitate for about 30 seconds then pour out. If you are using water , fill agitate and empty the tank several times.
The stop bath halts the action of the developer, water alone can't do this so you have to flush the developer out.

6 Pour in the fixer , agitate continuously for 30 seconds then intermittently for the duration of fixation. Read the instructions. Usually 4 or 5 minutes.
The fixer is another story about silver halides you probably don't need to hear. All you need to know at this stage is that it " fixes" the image and makes it permanent when exposed to light.
When fixing is done pour it out.

7 Wash the film in running water for 5 to 10 minutes. Alternatively; fill, agitate and empty the tank until that whole bucket of water is gone. If using wetting agent add a few drops to the wash at the very end . Do not allow the film to stand in the wetting agent longer than 30 seconds.

wetting agent is used to aid the drying process by preventing drops of water from forming on the film surface which can cause " drying marks".

8 Take the spiral out of the tank and shake of excess water. Carefully pull the film free and before hanging up to dry somewhere warm and preferably dust free admire your pristine negatives. Marvel at their razor sharpness and biting contrast then hang them up.

9 When they are dry cut them into strips and file in sleeves or put them in an envelope. Don't cut them into individual frames but strips of 4 to 6 depending on how you are storing them.

10 Use the negatives to produce stunning prints which will provide you with a source of cheap Christmas presents for friends a family.

For accurate process times/temps etc. always consult manufacturers instructions

Remember photographic chemicals are poisonous . Be extra careful if you are working in a kitchen. Any utensils you use preparing chemicals can only be used for that purpose.

Has it all gone wrong ?
Check the list of bad things that can happen for help.

Next   Basic print development.